Using your iPhone or iPad with your voice is as easy as saying “Hey Siri” and speaking a request out loud. You’ll have instant access to Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Here’s how to set it up.

What Is “Hey Siri”?

“Hey Siri” is a feature in Apple products that listens for the spoken words “Hey Siri” to bring Siri to attention. The command is a verbal replacement for needing to hold down the home or side button on your iPhone or iPad to call up Siri. Apple first introduced “Hey Siri” in 2014 with iOS 8.

It’s worth noting that certain older iPhones and iPads can only use “Hey Siri” while plugged into a power source to save battery life. But if you have any of the following devices or later, you can use “Hey Siri” without needing an external power source. These devices have hardware that can listen for “Hey Siri” in a battery-efficient manner.

  • iPhone 6s or later
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro (11-inch)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
  • iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
  • iPad (6th generation) or later

How to Enable “Hey Siri” on iPhone and iPad

When you go through the initial setup process on your iPhone or iPad after purchasing (or after a major OS update), Apple gives you chance to set up the “Hey Siri” feature. If you previously skipped that option, it’s not too late to set it up in the Settings app. Here’s how.

First, open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.

In Settings, tap “Siri & Search.”

In Settings, tap "Siri & Search."

In Siri & Search, select “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’.”

In "Siri & Search," tap "Listen for "Hey Siri.""

After tapping the switch, a new “Set Up ‘Hey Siri'” window will pop up. Tap “Continue.”

On the "Set Up Hey Siri" screen, tap "Continue."

Over the next few screens, your device will ask you to speak several phrases to help calibrate Siri. This helps the virtual assistant better recognize your voice. Go through the prompts one at a time and speak what is written on the screen.

Say "Hey Siri" into your iPhone or iPad.

When it says “‘Hey Siri’ is Ready,” tap “Done.”

Tap "Done."

While you’re in Siri & Search, if you want to be able to use “Hey Siri” while your iPhone or iPad is locked, flip the switch beside “Allow Siri When Locked” to turn it on. Likewise, if you don’t want people to be able to use “Hey Siri” while your device is locked, set “Allow Siri When Locked” to off.

In "Siri & Search," enable "Allow Siri When Locked."

After that, you’re ready to go. You can safely exit Settings, and Siri will always be listening for your “Hey Siri” command by voice from now on.

RELATED: How to Disable Siri on the iPhone Lock Screen

How to Use “Hey Siri”

Using “Hey Siri,” you can ask Siri to perform any task you’d normally ask Siri for. Just say “Hey Siri” out loud, then state your request. Here are just a handful of examples.

  • “Hey Siri, send a message.”
  • “Hey Siri, how’s the weather today?”
  • “Hey Siri, set a timer for five minutes.”
  • “Hey Siri, play some music.”
  • “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up the kids at 3:30.”
  • “Hey Siri, what baseball games are happening today?”

If “Hey Siri” is triggered properly, you’ll see the animated Siri globe icon on the screen. In iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 or earlier, the globe will be near the center of the screen. In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 or later, you’ll see the Siri globe near the bottom of the screen.

If “Hey Siri” is not working as you expect it, make sure that “Allow Siri When Locked” is enabled in Settings > Siri & Search (see section above) or that the device is unlocked. Also, your device may be one of the older models that requires an external power source to use “Hey Siri.” Plug your iPhone or iPad into a charger and try again.

Also, by default, “Hey Siri” won’t work if your iPhone or iPad is facing down or covered. If this is an issue, you can disable this in Settings > Accessibility > Siri by turning on the “Always Listen for ‘Hey Siri'” switch. Good luck, and have fun!

RELATED: How to Set Up and Use Siri on an iPhone

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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